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Yak Check 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches, 1500', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: First 7 pitches: J. Bennetto, R. Cox 85. To the top: R. Cox G. Wolkoff 92.
Season: spring-fall
Page Views: 12,762
Submitted By: Dru on Aug 14, 2009

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BETA PHOTO: TOPO: Red line shows the line of Yak Check as seen...


This is the link-up of the lower half of Yak Crack with the upper half of Reality Check. It is consistently 5.8 to 5.9 on the cruxes for most of the pitches, and combines the good rock on the lower pitches of Yak Crack with the quality upper climbing of Reality Check while missing out the hard and runout crux of the latter route.

There are various ways to start - don't try directly up the lower corner as it blanks out and is hard. One way that works is to solo up corners (5.2) to the ledge and block below Reality Check start then traverse left to the bolt belay at p. 1 of Yak Crack.

P1 - make 5.7ish moves left from the belay up a flake to gain the hand crack on the front face of the flake (small pro). Climb 5.6 crack to a belay out right at a slung pinnacle on the arete. ~55m

p2 - climb crack to a slung block in a chimney. 5.6 60m rope stretcher. can split this pitch in two at a slung tree half way up.

p3 - climb crack to top of pinnacle (Lunch Ledge), belay 10 feet higher at bolts. 25m 5.6

p4 - climb sometimes crumbly rock left at first, then up and right (some pro behind flakes and a fixed piton) to a bolted stance. 35 m 5.7. can link 3& 4 with 60m rope and long slings on gear to avoid rope zigzags.

p5 - an obvious vertical wall can be climbed via a corner on the left side (5.8) or a series of face holds to a vague hairline crack on the right (5.8+) then follow cracks and ramps up and right to a two-piton belay (back up with cams) 50m

p6 - move right from belay and climb a left facing 5.8 corner for about 10m then step right around arete at big hold (can also step right of corner at bottom but you miss out on the cool layback). climb up flakes, pass tree, up to two overlaps at a roofy feature. place gear then move thru overlaps into crumbly, easy groove, climb to bolt belay c. 55m 5.8+ (junction of Yak Crack and Reality Check)

p7 - You are now leaving Yak Crack for Reality Check. Climb up 5m from the belay on rock resembling oatmeal, then move left on a solid horizontal dyke until you encounter many flakes. undercling left, then up at end of first flake, climb more flakes to highest undercling at roof. move left (5.9) awkward under roof, to corner "Cave". there is a possible belay here under roof on a fixed nut and piton. HOWEVER, despite topos, it is best to go right here on to the arete of the cave and climb up about 10m (5.9 face) to a big ledge with bolted belay on the right. this avoids the spelunking tunnel thru the flake done on the FA which is awkward with a pack on, and avoids belaying on sketchy fixed pin and nut tied off with a single webbing chunk. ~50m 5.9

p8 - traverse ledge (top of through-flake) to a bolt belay on left. 30m 3rd class.

p9 - climb flake and ramp up and right for a pitch ~40m 5.8

p10 - supposedly one of the two 10a pitches. face climb up 3m to a bolt, move up and right 3m to another bolt, then back left and up 5m to a corner (bolt on left arete) climb right of the corner up the face on dishes and flakes then move up and right on a nebulous line past more boltsd and gear under flakes to a bolted belay on a small right facing corner/ramp (cant see belay until 5m below it). ~45m, easy 5.9 face, total of 5 bolts on the pitch plus gear. Can easily get into 5.10a terrain with lackluster route finding as the most direct line is not the easiest one.

p11- climb up flake above belay and either climb directly where it goes right, or move left and up good cracks on the face, to a ledge. above this is a low angle slab with 3 bolts. originally graded 9/10a by the FA party, subsequent ascents have cleaned holds on the slab of lichen making it more secure - now feels like an 5.8/9. belay at bolted stance on ledge above. ~40m 5.8/9 this is where you would rap from if you planned on rappelling.

p12 - 4th class up low angle slab (no pro) for full pitch to trees above. 45m 4th class. Can escape into trees lower down if you want to.

From here, hike and scramble up towards the top, pass the subsummit on the right side on a good ledge (exposed).


You can rap the route but it is better and faster to walk off down the backside.

In early season there may be a problematic steep snowpatch blocking the walkoff at the base of the subsummit-true summit col. You can rap past this with two ropes or descend it in approach shoes using a nut tool as an ice axe.


Full rack to 3" with doubles to triple cams in the finger size (blue, yellow, orange TCU). Generally bolted belays.

Photos of Yak Check Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: This is the topo from when we climbed Yak Check in...
BETA PHOTO: This is the topo from when we climbed Yak Check in...
Rock Climbing Photo: Route Overlay Yak-Check.
BETA PHOTO: Route Overlay Yak-Check.
Rock Climbing Photo: Flakes on Pitch 9.
Flakes on Pitch 9.
Rock Climbing Photo: 10a slab on Pitch 12.
10a slab on Pitch 12.
Rock Climbing Photo: Corner on Pitch 11.
Corner on Pitch 11.
Rock Climbing Photo: Corner on Pitch 11.
Corner on Pitch 11.
Rock Climbing Photo: Hand crack on Pitch 3 or 4.
Hand crack on Pitch 3 or 4.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up Yak-Check from base.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up Yak-Check from base.
Rock Climbing Photo: Last climbing pitch
Last climbing pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: The first few pitches
The first few pitches
Rock Climbing Photo: View via the descent
View via the descent
Rock Climbing Photo: LF corner of p6.
LF corner of p6.
Rock Climbing Photo: traversing above the "cave"
traversing above the "cave"
Rock Climbing Photo: The approach - well marked trail even across the s...
The approach - well marked trail even across the s...

Comments on Yak Check Add Comment
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By Dru
Nov 10, 2010

Added a pitch by pitch description that I wrote for another climbing website in 2002 and that I have subsequently edited somewhat.

Old bolt belay stations referenced in the pitch by pitch description were replaced in 2007-2008 with new stainless hardware.
By Adrian Lazar
Aug 2, 2011

Climbed this route yesterday on a beautiful day. The route is mostly dry, there's a couple of wet spots, but nothing of concern.

We couldn't figure out the new variation to p7, so we belayed from the fixed piton and nut as the rope drag was too much to handle going up the "cave's" arete. I'm not sure if double length slings used for the undercling would help reduce drag and make it manageable to climb above the cave in a single pitch. We did climb above it as the next very short pitch.

There's still plenty of snow on the backside. It is steep, but mostly soft, no crampons are needed.

All anchors are bolted. Lower half of the climb anchors have been recently rebolted.
By Matt Hoffmann
From: Squamish
Apr 25, 2012
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13

Been on this route 3 times in the span of 6 weeks. Only successful the third time. Be really wary of the weather! I've rappelled from the top of pitch 6 and pitch 8 in the pouring rain (despite the morning being clear). The rappels are not fun. Lots of place for your rope to get stuck and one pretty scary one as you could take a tumble to the side (p3 I think). That being said the bolted anchors are a blessing if you do have to rappel.

The route itself is fairly easy, and the route finding is a bit complicated but, pay attention to the topo and you'll be fine.

Regarding the climbing, it is fairly crumbly so, be careful what you step on and what you pull on. Make sure you are comfortable on slabby terrain. The best pitches are early in a nice long crack (p2 and 3 I think). It's worth doing to get to the top but, I can't recommend the route for it's climbing.

The descent kind of sucks. Pretty steep and loose. When you're tired from the full day, be careful on it.
By bearbreeder
Aug 1, 2015

For the gear extra in the the off fingers to hand sizes is probably the most critical

The "cave" traversing pitch needs an extra hand size or two to protect well for the second

Tricams work quite well as quite a few of the placements are pods that are somewhat uneven and some of the placements with cams are a bit suspect behind flakes

I would be fine personally with a single rack from blue metolius to big blue camalot, a set of tricams from black to blue, and a set of the smaller nuts

One thing thats worth mentioning is that many of these pitches are "no fall" zones, with the features below you, rope stretch and the spacing of the gear ... If you cant runnout 5.8/9 ish and basically solo 5.6/7 ish then this climb might not be the best

The rock quality is no worse than the popular climbs in the canadian rockies

By YetAnotherDave
Sep 17, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

We had some interesting routefinding issues with our guidebook, then found Dru's notes here and it got much simpler. Thanks Dru!

Some bolts were loose, others had hangers clearly damaged by rockfall. Consider taking a few 3/4" hangers and a wrench.

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